And other useful pieces of stellar advice.
Writers are often beset by the twin constraints of self-doubt and self-sabotage. Abundantly available on the net are any number of memes, passages and quotations specifically designed to encourage and inspire writers should they ever feel unworthy. Rejuvenated and restored by these affirmations, they launch with renewed vigour into penning that best seller.
Here are some of them with observations and opinions from this author:
- Don’t measure your success by others, only by what you believe of yourself. I believe I will be as great a success as J. K. Rowling. (I repeat every night in mantra style and sometimes in Gangnam-style.
- No one has any right to judge your work, only you. But can this be told to the publishers? I don’t think they read this one.
- There is an audience for every writer. They forgot mention it should be more than ten thousand if you want to eat.
- Write because you want to, because you love it. I do and I do. I also want to eat and I love to pay bills. All right, I have to pay bills.
- All great writers were rejected at first, some many times. Rejection slips have changed. They are now generic, cold and unsigned, or they are, ‘blank blank blankety blank,’ (read- you get nothing back). It is likely that no one may have read your MS and often no one has the time to respond. This is the brutal reality. (Thousands of submissions are sent in daily through the miracle of technology.)
- Self-published authors who write best sellers, are making a lot of money on the internet and offering competition to traditional publishing houses. It costs to self publish and all have worked really hard to get there. Sure some are making their millions but many are not making the return on their investment. Do not let this stop you; self-belief is still the most potent force you own.
- You will need a social media presence. No, you will need to become a social media guru and spend hours on this alone. It’s not for the faint hearted.
- You need to write well, produce an excellent book, and captivate your audience. I totally agree with this but some of the best sellers are not those books. I researched. Read from a wide list of best sellers specifically in your genre.
- Writing improves through writing and reading. You really should read about writing, go to courses on writing and soak up videos, podcasts and audio files on writing. It comes in handy. Also, read the best sellers making the list. Join a writing association.
- Writing a book is an authentic statement, and once achieved, you’ve created an irrevocable original presence. Or it could all be swiped, milled and quickly forgotten. Just kidding. It is a fantastic achievement to hold up your own book and say, ‘I wrote this!’ No one, and I repeat because it’s worth repeating, no one can take that away from you.
Never say die or any other cliché. I believe in hard work, smart writing, clever reading and thorough editing. Structural editors, manuscript assessors and copy editors are indispensible for the self-published author. Traditional publishers provide these services.
Read your MS aloud as much as possible. This is an invaluable practice to ascertain whether it reads well.
You can if you think you can but you will require hours on the chair clicking keys or sliding your pen through countless books. I know, I’m with you. Let’s nail this!